February has been a long month. The heat left me scattered and exhausted. My brother visited from overseas on the hottest days and I was too ill and confused to catch up with him. He and his wife stopped in at my mother’s house and dealt with all those things that I have been trying to hold together from a distance by sheer power of my will. I think the removal of that caused part of the collapse I suffered for a few days before I could right myself
A 55-300 Nikon lens appeared in my collection and I took it down to the lake for a test one day. I wasn’t impressed with the Tamron macro I bought a year or so back. All these computerized lenses are quirky. The Tamron takes a long time to focus and needs lots of light and has a huge focus distance. It works well for flowers but I am shooting bugs. An analog lens would just be what it was without the quirky behavior of the software. Mostly the software allows immense improvements in performance but it also makes it difficult to judge possible performance difficulties. The 55-300 seems to work well and just needs a polarizing filter to get me some excellent lakeside bird images.
It is difficult to say what has happened to the lawyers. I briefed Naomi Scrimshaw but she disappeared over Christmas and I was handed to Jean-Anne Searson for the last tribunal visit. A number of emails were sent to their offices at Legal Aid and they had been asked to supply copies of the papers we got from whoever we are being attacked by. It has been a few weeks now without anything.
My comment on whomever is attacking us is based on the fact that Family and Community Services often morphs into Spotless Corporation but for the purposes of this case the entity is calling itself New South Wales Land and Housing Corporation. All in all it reminds me of how convoluted the identities of the faceless beast that screws us have become.
Nightmares now happen every time I sleep and I wake into a sense of bleak horror that creates knots in my stomach all day long.
There may be some truth to the accusation that the big flags are my attempt to inject color, movement and light into my days to offset the bleakness. There may be some truth in that. One of the flags is the Eureka or Southern Cross flag and represents a battle against injustice. No need to comment on that.
The Maltese Cross flag once flew on the walls of Jerusalem during the Crusades. Some of knights were called the Knights of the Order of the Temple of Solomon and this was said to be one of theirs. What is my name again? I have every right to fly it. It too is a declaration of my intention to fight for my survival.
Now I should explain the basis for these attacks. People have asked why I should be the recipient of such venom and relentless hate.
This is Alan Ashburn. He is the man behind the hate. Or he was. His conniving and cunning created a situation that was always going to end up biting him hard and an unfortunate and innocent choice by me made me the vehicle of his demise.
I met him when I was searching for a property to rent. I had been in a truly bad spot some time prior to this with no one to help me get food or care for myself and rapidly decreasing health. I was already disable but had a broken shoulder and some broken ribs from being assaulted. My spine was painfully damaged from another accident. Life without Barriers took me in hand and their representative started driving me around looking for some place where they could set me up in a care situation
Two property owners had heard I was looking for a place to live and knew I could handle the acquisition of building materials and manage contractors. They both offered me cushy deals as a live-in renovator where I oversaw the upgrading and repair of significantly damaged apartment blocks. I could use individual apartments for my studio until they were finished and then move to the next one. I could have built a life doing that but with all the new injuries I was too ill. I also had suffered heart failure after risking everything to get myself through a university degree and needed to get stabilized so I could undergo surgery. I knew that could take years as well.
Alan was the license holder for the LJ Hooker estate agency at Budgewoi. He was one of those guys who look deep into the eyes of the crippled prospective client, shake your hand, and slap you on the back. The apartment he offered me was across the street from the Halekulani Club which should have meant it was quiet and wouldn’t aggravate my condition. It had a garage. It was on a quarter acre block with trees that opened in some very old sub-rural housing blocks. We had a long discussion about my needs and after me repeating several times that I needed a couple of years of stability Alan went and grabbed the property owner (Mike) who also pumped my hand enthusiastically and spat on his palm to bind his promise that I was safe to be there a couple of years and considerably longer.
The move was horrific. My mother flew down from Queensland because she believed her family should always leave a property spotless. Both she and her partner had been estate agents in the area before they had retired to Queensland. Before that she had been the wife of an officer in the airforce.
The huge old apartment had a double garage and it concealed tons of seasoned wood I had collected for carving. It also concealed tons of found objects suitable for a series of industrial sculptures. I couldn’t carry the lumber or the the sculptural materials and the movers flat out refused to touch it. My mother had her first stroke trying to compensate for my inabilities moving furniture in the house and I suffered an even worse bout of heart failure plus various failures of parts of my body as I fought to move precious and heavy items. While the disability carers helped us move into the new apartment they shook their heads at the art supplies and simply stayed away from the packing of the old apartment. So did all the locals who had promised, hand on heart, to be there and help when it happened.
When I awoke in the new apartment at Budgewoi the carers were from a different company and they considered me so close to death that they changed the staff to palliative care nurses and whispered when they spoke in my presence. I was calling it “chronic fatigue” but my heart had failed and I was hovering near death as it continued to be unable to provide a normal blood supply. My left side was already crippled but the battle to move furniture to a new address had damaged my leg and hip further. My left shoulder was useless and I couldn’t raise my arm at all. It could take three days for me to get into the bathroom for a wash once I had decided to make the attempt and it was a one-handed splash because nothing on the left worked. They made me stews and sandwiches which they left in the fridge knowing I was not capable of creating a meal myself. I have always felt these were the early years of the caring that became the National Disability Insurance Scheme. They didn’t know what to do with me at first but I sensed the confidence growing as time went by.
Mentally I had the cognitive power of a potato. I could struggle with simple ideas for days. Any pressure would drive me to dismay and tears. I could sit upright for a little while and would use computer games to try and rebuild the mind. In the beginning I couldn’t even work the card games but I fought in a strange fog of forgetfulness and blindness to teach myself how to make websites. I simply wanted to do a kind of performance art where the performance was me fighting to survive. I had also discovered a global online community of people who were often fighting their way back from the kind of injuries I was suffering. A lot of them died but they died knowing they were in touch with people who understood the harshness of their end. We often sat up into the night and on different ends of the planet, cried together.
I never did understand the malice of some people but the estate agents began a sport where they would try to convince me that I had owed them money for ages and they were going to evict me. My mother had been paying all my bills directly into whatever bank account was relevant since we discovered how badly bill paying upset me and they were paid in advance. I think if I had paid again the records would have been changed to reflect only one payment but that is my cynicism.
It was a month or six weeks into this battle to regain life that it happened. Most of this period is a blank. I went into shock and was even further damaged. I don’t remember if Alan Ashburn sent me a letter or came himself. He told me he wanted to sell the apartment and I had to move out.
There was no money for movers. I could only stand with great difficulty and was helpless to care for myself. As I said, the idea of facing all that pain and having no place to go when I was already so mentally weakened drove me into a state of shock. Somewhere in a blizzard of horror I found enough of a spine to look him in the face (or maybe I rang him) and say no! In order to stop myself from screaming I published the story in my journal. I think it was Live Journal or MySpace back then. That little community gathered around me in spirit and their horror brought me back some of the way. The carers looked at the ground and left but must have been trying to understand what was going on and how to deal with it. To my undying appreciation they promised not to leave me alone or without support.
Alan sympathetically explained to me that he said whatever he felt was needed to get someone into a property and didn’t feel at all bound by it.
When I was at university I studied some business law and among the files even now are academic papers I wrote about contract law. Alan Ashburn had been convinced he was a special person who could do whatever he needed to do to make money. Now he was faced with law and I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when his lawyer advised him that handshake deals were actually considered contracts under the law. He came back to me and denied that Mike or he had shaken hands or intended to imply there was any deal. Another shock for Alan Ashburn. The carer who had driven me to the meeting where the promises were made was a well-known community identity and Justice of the Peace. He had written a report at the time including the handshake contract and now had further presented me with an affidavit saying so. For the first time in my life I wasn’t alone when the bullies came to cheat me. But I was so ill. They carried me out of grocery stores and once lay me on the ground under a tree to die when I refused to let them call an ambulance. Much discussion about that new ground. I had been a martial artist and mystic and we dont die easy.
I kept reporting on the activities around the potential eviction. Each time I worked on the site I had to dig deep for energy and would often drift into sleep after all my energy was gone. My website became a website about LJ hooker and Alan Ashburn. I was assaulted by someone demanding I cease reporting.
Alan put a sign on the front of the apartment and I put a sign on his sign. Alan called his lawyer who told him I was defacing his property so I made a larger sign that had the little girl photoshopped into a room with concrete walls covered in graffiti and I gave her a black eye and a ripped sacking dress. It stood on its own stick in front of his sign but without touching it.
Initially the buyers were happy to assert their right to put tenants on the street for the sake of. Christmas or not! When they saw me clinging to the door post recording their faces and actions with a video camera they seemed to not wish anyone to know of their assertion and would scurry back to their cars and leave. It was everything I could do at times to be upright and filming when they came. They stopped coming. I dont understand that. If they were doing no wrong who cares if there is a record. Some of the locals were vociferous in telling me of all the plots and scams Alan Ashburn was known for but Im not a cop and even if I was I didnt have the strength to do more.
I wasn’t asleep. I think the stress had further aggravated my heart and I was unconscious. Whatever it was I didnt wake that day.
My neighbors told me that Alan Ashburn had been running around my back yard asking me to come out and face him. When nobody did come out he tried to kick the back door down and when that failed he tried to climb in through my window. That is my window in the photograph. I was on the bed unconscious so I dont know what he planned to do. By the time he had shifted his body most of the way into the room the police had arrived. The neighbors had heard the police call to him to stop and seen him taken to the car. Nobody woke me and I didnt see the neighbors for several days so heard no more for a long time
Months into the future the lease was taken over by Ray White Estate Agents which I didn’t question because things change without anything sinister being present.
I didnt speak to many people off the internet apart from the carers so there was nobody to tell me more. Some years later I was having a coffee at the bakery on Tenth Avenue in Budgewoi with a local when I asked what had happened to Alan Ashburn. I had expected to see him passing by in his normal day to day estate agent business but never did. The local told me that Alan Ashburn had suicided by jumping in front of a truck. I dont know if I should believe him or not but to my experience people who suddenly die on the grills of trucks are flung there by people who want them removed. Anyway. That is the story. His little band of sycophants and family members blame me for whatever happened. The legal profession and the property managers at large cannot stand that a tenant stood up to them successfully and want to punish me. They are childish enough and scandalized so completely that this has gone on for a decade. They have called in favors all across the coast and slandered me relentlessly in ways I cannot discover. They disgust me as do their supporters